Using marking rubrics to enhance the feedback process

Using marking rubrics to enhance the feedback process

 Dr Lynsey Christie, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, tells us how a working group was set up to review current rubric use.


SMMSN use standardised rubrics within PGT for marking assessments with the aim of improving inter-marker consistency and clarity to students. A working group was set up to review current rubric use. Our initial review suggested that rubrics were widely used but staff were often unaware of the variety available, how they should be used effectively and in what circumstances alternative marking schemes can be developed. Students were often unaware that a rubric would be used for marking, and when reviewing the grade and feedback were finding a lack of correlation between comments and the boxes ticked.


I was part of the rubric evaluation rubric group along with 5 other members of SMMSN PGT teaching staff. Over 3
months we sought feedback from staff and students about perceptions of rubrics and what the barriers were to effective implementation. Following this feedback, over a further 3 months, the group reviewed and redeveloped a new set of rubrics for use across SMMSN PGT. I took a lead in developing these for use within MyAberdeen, ran a staff training session on effective rubric use, and discussed rubrics and feedback with our PGT students within teaching sessions.


Students have responded positively to the increased advance availability of standard marking schemes, have a greater awareness of the rubric's role in grade determination, and are engaging more in the feedback loop process. The training and discussions have provided greater clarity to staff and students about how rubrics fit into the feedback process. Staff have reported feeling more confident in determining grades and the value of incorporating academic judgement into their decisions. In turn this has improved clarity for students and we are seeing more staff-student discussions about ways to improve assessment submissions.


The rubrics are used across SMMSN PGT courses. Previously use was limited to 2-3 common types based on historical assessment formats. The new rubrics comprise 12 different marking schemas adapted to existing and more novel assessment types, and these have been welcomed and widely adopted by staff. Further to this the facility to develop a bespoke marking scheme within MyAberdeen when standardised rubrics are not appropriate has been adopted by several courses to ensure the marking criteria are clearly linked to learning outcomes, and are clear to all students and markers.


I delivered an internal information and training session on the process of developing the rubrics, the new schemas, and how to use them effectively to staff involved in SMMSN PGT teaching. The process further contributed to a workshop I facilitated as part of the SMMSN education day on effective feedback. Workshop outputs and student feedback were combined to form the basis for a session I delivered to the university's Learning and Teaching Network about the enhancing the feedback process and alleged disparities between staff and student perceptions of what makes feedback effective.

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